Northern Lights in Lapland

The spectacular Aurora Borealis over a scenic fjord in Scandinavia

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27.05.2020
 

The magical power of colorful Northern Lights, dancing in the dark sky, is one of the reasons why more and more travelers strive to visit remote and mysterious Lapland. And it is no surprise, as the impressions of this unique spectacle are truly an experience of a lifetime. There are even some enthusiasts, enchanted by this natural phenomenon to such a scale, that they make the Northern Lights hunting a real long-term hobby.

Pure Magic or Any Scientific Explanations?

Have you ever wondered how these magnificent flashes of light appear? Well, as much as we’d all like to believe otherwise, there is no magic and there exists a scientific answer to this question. The Northern Lights or, scientifically, Aurora Borealis, actually forms in the result of the collisions, caused by some electrically charged gaseous particles from the sun that get to the atmosphere of our planet. Yes, as simple as it is.

​​​The particles get stuck by the magnetic poles of both hemispheres of the Earth that’s why the nights can be seen only above the Northern pole and below the Southern one. ​The coolest thing about Aurora Borealis is that it comes in absolutely different colors, starting from green and blue to yellow and even red, making the “light show” just fantastic. This phenomenon begs the question - why are the Northern Lights so multicolored?

 

​And again, quite a simple explanation: the color of the glow is defined by the type of gas of the particles, colliding in the atmosphere. For instance, the most common green Aurora is produced by oxygen molecules while nitrogen usually colors the lights in blue and purple.

Northern Lights in Culture

A man sitting in the middle of a frozen lake and admiring the Northern Lights

As you can imagine, the Northern Lights have inspired people since ancient times and have naturally become the subject of various legends and tales. The most popular interpretation of Aurora Borealis among Scandinavians suggested that this celestial event was nothing more nor less than the boundary separating the world of the living and the world of the dead.

​Continuing this theme, Norwegians considered that the Northern Lights were the souls of the dead, dancing in the sky. As for other myths, different tribes also considered Aurora Borealis to be the gleam of armors of Gods, or the lights from the windows of the Celestial Palace, or the omen for the future events. What fantasists these Scandinavians are! Or is there any truth in these legends? The choice is yours!

 

Where to Observe the Northern Lights Best?

To clarify the geolocation, you have the best opportunity to hunt the Northern Lights being in one of the following European countries: Finland, Sweden, Norway, and Iceland, where seeing the Aurora is very likely. It’s also possible to do so in northern Russia and Canada.

If talking about Sweden and Finland, here you can combine Northern Lights seeking with adventurous reindeer sledding through winter forests or spending an unforgettable night watching the sky in cozy glass igloos with panoramic roofs.

You can also spend a memorable Lapland winter vacation, visiting Lapland's Rovaniemi in December and catching the magic not only of Aurora Borealis but also the Christmas atmosphere of the Santa Claus village as well.

​​​Those, traveling around Norway, often choose to set off on a scenic cruise and see the Lights onboard a ship while some Iceland winter tours offer to couple the aurora experience with a side of relaxation in the hot thermal waters of the famous Blue Lagoon. The ways of the Northern Lights hunting are just uncountable!

People admiring the Northern Lights near the Skogafoss Watefall, Iceland
 

When Is The Best Time to See Northern Lights?

The best time to see the Northern Lights is from 10 p.m. till midnight, implying that the weather is frosty and the sky is totally clear. As a rule, your chances to catch the natural event are very strong in the period from November to the beginning of April. ​Moreover, take into consideration that watching Aurora Borealis in the city is quite undesirable because the whole “show” can be hampered by urban lighting.

 

As you can see, fairy tale Lapland is not all about the Christmas spirit. Magic lives everywhere in the region, far beyond the world-famous home of Santa Clause. Miracles in Finland are always somewhere around the corner, you just need to know where to look.